The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Pallet Companies, Inc., doing business as IFCO Systems North America Inc., for four safety and health violations following a complaint received in July concerning workplace hazards at the company's Jacksonville facility. Proposed penalties total $61,600.
OSHA issued a repeat safety citation and a repeat health citation, for a total of $55,000 in penalties, for failing to develop, document and utilize procedures to control potentially hazardous energy while servicing or maintaining equipment, and not implementing an effective hearing conservation program whenever noise exposures equal or exceed the permissible exposure limit. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. Similar violations were cited in 2009 and 2011.
A serious safety violation, with a $6,600 penalty, was cited for not ensuring conductors were protected from abrasion when entering cutout boxes, cabinets or fittings. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
One other-than-serious violation was also cited, with no proposed penalty, for failing to verify whether the required workplace hazard assessment had been conducted through a written certification process. An other-than-serious violation is issued when a violation has a direct relationship to safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm.
"This employer continues to put employees at risk of serious injury or death by failing to implement proper protections," said Brian Sturtecky, OSHA's area director in Jacksonville. "It's the employer's responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace."
IFCO Systems North America is a wood pallet sort and repair facility with corporate offices in Houston. The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations and proposed penalties to comply, request a conference with OSHA's area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.